|Web Magazine Online|
|By April Liening|
I Am Ecstatic about Being Filipina
Thinking about my name these past few days has revealed to me more of who I was and who I am and who I am going to be. I reflected about how when I was a kid I really disliked my name. Instead of April, I wanted to be called Jennifer, Christine, or my favorite name of all -- Ashley. I thought "Ashley" was such a cute name, in fact, whenever I would play Barbies my blond perfect doll would always be named Ashley. I wanted so badly to be like my white friends and when they told me that I did not look like an "Ashley" inside I was crushed. My middle name, Pe, was also a touchy issue for me. More than changing my first name I definitely desired a new middle name like Rose, Lynn, Ann or Elizabeth. But, Pe? What is that? I vowed that when I reached 18 I would legally change my middle name.
Now I'm almost 21 years old and I totally love my name! I am
even excited to talk about how cool my name is. I like April because not only is April a great month, but I also recently found out that my parents named me April because that was when they feel in love many years ago. Consequently, it was also the month in which I was conceived. I still hear the corny jokes after I introduce myself. People will say, "Oh April...hi...where is May? Ha ha ha ha ha ha..."
My middle name, Pe, is my mother's maiden name. It is Chinese and my grandfather who is from Amoy, China said that it means "white." That is ironic because my middle name is far from being "white" in American culture. I see that I have changed from wanting to not stick out. I used to want to be exactly like my white friends at school. I have this funny story of how when I was in middle school I asked my mom if she would ground me after I did something bad because I wanted to be like my friends by complaining to them about how I would be grounded too. My mother never grounded me.
I am at a point in my life now where I am ecstatic about being Filipina. I love the language, the food, all our family traditions and our inside jokes. I connect more with being Filipina than anything else. The only things I really know about white culture is what I watch on television and witness from my Caucasian friends. This is because my parents divorced when I was five years old. Therefore, my father's ability to influence me in terms of what it is like to be German-American was cut off. As a result, I have no idea what Liening, my last name, signifies.
Overall, I am pleased with my name I get called funny nicknames too. My friends on my floor this year call me "Ape doggie dog." I look forward to see more of who I will become as I am fully enjoyed what I am called. April Pe Liening -- that's me!
(April Liening is a Junior majoring in English.)